Santosh Hegde flays Somnath Bharti's conduct

Santosh Hegde flays Somnath Bharti's conduct
Bangalore, Jan 18: Former Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde today said the beginning of the Kejriwal Government in Delhi had not been good, as he flayed Law Minister Somnath Bharti's vigilante style raid and his calling a meeting of judges.

"Two things the Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti has done are certainly wrong - creating a scene... And convening a meeting of all judges of courts," Hegde, a former Team Anna member, told PTI here.

Bharti is at the centre of a raging row as he tried to raid an alleged drug and prostitution ring but the police refused to do his bidding citing lack of warrant. He had a verbal argument with a police official after he refused to conduct a raid at a building.

"I saw the interaction between the law minister and the police at the crime spot. It is not something that a minister should do, however enthusiastic he may be," Hegde said.

Hegde said the minister cannot rebuke any police officer in public, but should take administrative action against them if the directives are not carried out.

Bharti's surprise raid attempt had ended in a roadside argument between him and the Delhi Police, who said he tried to force them to conduct a search on a building late on Wednesday night without a warrant, and question women, maintaining sex workers were hiding in the building.

The minister claimed he had received complaints that Nigerian nationals were involved in sex trade and drugs and he had decided to "catch them red-handed", along with the police.

On Bharti's attempt to convene a meeting of the judges and scolding the Law Secretary, Hegde said the government does not have any power over judiciary.

"The power of administration of judicial system lies with the High Court. The power of the state government is only with regard to providing infrastructure," he said.

"If there is any shortcoming in the administration of judiciary, the Chief Minister should sit with the Chief Justice and talk to him. He cannot call a meeting with the judges, advise them what to do and what not to do," he said.

Hegde said the beginning of Kejriwal government has not been good, but it has the all the chance of improving.

"They should realise one thing that they are first-timers (in politics). They should be careful in not showing themselves as a novice. The best thing for them would be to takle some advice from the executive," he added.


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